What exactly IS sound masking? Sound masking is the process of adding background sound through speakers installed in the ceiling or strategically placed acoustical fabrics to reduce noise distractions, protect speech privacy, and increase employee comfort and satisfaction in an office setting. In addition to absorbing sound and adding privacy, these products can also add color and style to any open plan work space. Create. Collaborate. Concentrate.
The modern office space has a problem with speech privacy. This is a concern across all workplaces including corporate, education, healthcare, government and law, financial services, and hospitality.
Research has told us that 70% of offices now have open floor plans. Open offices, while great for collaboration, offer almost no speech privacy. Moreover, closing the door to an office no longer guarantees speech privacy, in fact, it’s probably worse because closing that door provides the illusion of privacy. Sound masking is a key tool that can help business owners solve the speech privacy problem. Sound masking typically reduces the area where speech is intelligible and distracting from upwards of 50 feet to around 15 feet, depending on the product installed.
A 2014 study by Steelcase/lpsos found that employees lost as much as 86 minutes per day due to noise distractions. The goal of sound masking is for routine speaking in the office to be unintelligible, so that workers tend not to even notice it and conversational distractions simply fade into the background.
Overhearing conversations interferes with a workers internal monologue, making it very difficult to concentrate. In addition to decreasing employee productivity, there is also an increase in compliance and legal concerns when workers overhear personal and/or company confidential information. Many private conversations would be HR nightmares if overheard by the wrong people.